The scars war leaves behind

After a big win at Cannes, the new Keshet show 'When Heroes Fly' holds a premiere in Israel and readies to hit the small screen in the coming weeks.

Michael Aloni, Ninet Tayeb, Tomer Kapon, Omri Givon, Moshe Ashkenazi and Nadav Netz on the red carpet. (photo credit: RAFI DELOUYA)
Michael Aloni, Ninet Tayeb, Tomer Kapon, Omri Givon, Moshe Ashkenazi and Nadav Netz on the red carpet.
(photo credit: RAFI DELOUYA)
For four former friends, it has been 11 years since they left the battlefield of the Second Lebanon War. The group, who were reservists in a Golani brigade which saw heavy fire in southern Lebanon, made it out alive. That’s more than they can say for their beloved commander, Tzachi, who was killed during a fight with Hezbollah troops.
This is the start of the upcoming Keshet show, When Heroes Fly, which held its celebratory Israeli premiere Sunday night at the Tel Aviv Museum of Art. And there was much to celebrate, as the show’s creators and stars were coming off the high of winning the top prize at the Canneseries festival in France last week. Top names at Keshet such as CEO Avi Nir; drama desk head Karni Ziv; show creator and director Omri Givon; and the cast, including Tomer Kapon (Fauda), Michael Aloni (Shtisel), singer Ninet Tayeb, Moshe Ashkenazi and Nadav Netz, all turned out dressed to the nines for the premiere.
When Heroes Fly, based in part on the book by the same name by the late Amir Gutfreund, is a compelling yet depressing tale. The Keshet show does not yet have a premiere date, but is expected to hit screens across the country in the next few weeks.
While the four friends – Aviv, Dubi, Benda and (he of the unfortunate but lasting army nickname) Himmler – made it home after the war, the physical and emotional scars are harder to shake. Dubi seems the most adjusted, with a wife and two kids and a job at a local school. Benda has escaped to Bogota, Colombia, where he operates a hummus joint catering to Israeli travelers alongside his Colombian girlfriend.
Himmler, who suffered the most serious physical wounds, is still holding on to some serious anger, and potentially some significant health issues. But Aviv is the most dysfunctional of all. At age 34 he still lives with his mother, has no steady work, and is haunted by what he saw on the battlefield – and who he left behind. Two years after the end of the war, Yaeli, Aviv’s girlfriend – and Dubi’s sister – was killed in an accident while she was backpacking around Colombia.
Or so they all thought.
Some unsettling news brings the four of them – wounds and all – together again 11 years later. And this time it’s for a mission none of them saw coming.
When Heroes Fly is at times a difficult show to watch, with scenes that will hit home for many combat veterans as well as their family and friends. It opens with real-life clips from news broadcasts of the Second Lebanon War, reminding viewers – most of whom need no reminder – that the story is fiction, but the costs of war are very real.
“It’s a series about four men who have been marked by the trauma of war with scrapes, questions and misunderstandings,” said Ziv in her opening remarks on Sunday night. “It’s a series about a group that has broken apart and only the attempts to save one woman can stick it back together. It’s a series about a woman who is the only one who can save each of them from the wounds inside them.”